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Whose God is God?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
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July 6, 2020 8:00 am

Whose God is God?

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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July 6, 2020 8:00 am

Taken captive and marched off to another country, Daniel and his friends have some amazing adventures in Babylonia. But through it all, they are faithful to God. As you enter into their story, you'll learn more about: the sovereignty of God, and why we must be holy and Christian living in a secular culture. In the latter half of this book, Daniel's own visions are recorded, and--in them--we catch glimpses of the future. How are these visions relevant to our lives?

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Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet Ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals featuring the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce for more information please contact us by calling toll-free one 804 88 18 and now the alliance is pleased to present the Bible study our bearing you to think and act biblically talked in between the right Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. On the one hand on the 12 Minor Prophets. Let's conclude the Old Testament wives. Daniel Jesus spoke of Daniel calling him a prophet, thereby authenticated both the man and his function. Yet in spite of this, Daniel has been battle ground for higher critics of the Old Testament and has perhaps been more rigorously attacked by them than any other comparable portion of the word of God. One commentator flatly calls Daniel allegory is denying its historical credibility of others as slight quote. It purports if the story of one Daniel who suffered first exile under Nebuchadnezzar and lived in the Eastern diaspora, but goes on to say that it was actually written much later. That's to say after the historical events it is words purports to prophesy.

One of the great commentators on Daniel in the 19th century scholar by the name of EP Busey probably had it right when he said the book of Daniel is especially fitted to be a battleground between faith and unbelief. It admits of no halfway measures. It is either divine or an imposter. What is the value of this book apart from the large amount of prophecy that it contains. Well it does contain a great deal of prophecy. Of course, as matter of fact in all of the Old Testament probably contains the most specific promises and prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ. It actually gives the year in which the Messiah was to come, that it forecasts very accurate charts the history of Daniel's area of the world from his own day. That is the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom down to what we call the Christian era showing the fall of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon session like kingdom by the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Eventually, the coming of the Greeks and then finally the coming of the great power of wrong.

All that is there in breach detailing Daniel and as I say it is not specifically because of the prophecy that this book has its great place in the Old Testament canon. What is the reason for this books importance. It's not all that hard to find an answer to that question because it stated for us, we may miss it, but it is stated for us in the first two verses of the book those verses say in the third year of the reign of Josiah Kim, King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it or delivered joy to Kim King of Judah into his hand along with some of the articles, the temple of God. These he carried off the temple of his God in Babylonia and in the treasure house of his God.

I was awful for us to understand something of the historical background of those two verses Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem on three separate occasions was an invasion in 605 BC, under Joya Kim he was king of Judah, there was a second invasion in 597 BC when his son joy, chin was getting this King was supposed was carried off to Babylon along with many of the leaders of the nation including entire royal family. The leaders of the Army generals. Those who had ability to conduct troops in battle, and even some of the priests Ezekiel was carried off about other than that second invasion was 1/3 one in 587 BC. That's the one we know of most because it was on that occasion.

But Jerusalem finally fell and was destroyed all the people were deported to Babylon. On that occasion and strictly speaking, that's when the Jewish exile began out since Daniel begins the book by reference to Joya Kim, the king of Judah, the dating of his captivity is made very plain.

This was during the first of these three invasions.

He was among the very first Jews were taken away from the kingdom of Judah in the south of Babylon to live there. This book is going to tell about a number of these men.

Daniel is one of but we also know the names of three of his friends had and I was renamed Shadrach Michelle, who was renamed the shack and Azariah, who was renamed Abednego format their story is going to be told they are ones that were carried off the Bible and in this first very limited deportation.

Yet the interesting thing is that is this book begins and as we read in the first two verses. It is not these four men were said to have been carried off to Babylon though.

That comes later. But rather the articles from the temple of God is no incidental reference is not irrelevant. This is a way of saying that what this book is about is the struggle between the gods of Babylon and the God of Israel, Jehovah, or to put it in other terms because in reality there are no other gods but one it is going to be a struggle between Nebuchadnezzar is God's will, but we didn't always very clearly distinguish himself and Jehovah one true God. You see when Nebuchadnezzar went to Judah and subjected it, so that they had to yield treasures said the temple is tribute when he took these holy vessels used in the worship of God and carried them back to Babylon and put them lots in his own personal palace, but in the treasure house of his God. What Nebuchadnezzar was saying and what was perfectly evident. It would seem to all the world is a Nebuchadnezzar's gods were stronger.

At least Nebuchadnezzar was wrong juice for centuries had boasted the sovereignty of Jehovah, the one true God, maker of heaven and earth poses things as the degrees Nebuchadnezzar said I stronger that God 20 subjected Jerusalem and carried off the articles from the temple.

He was saying sure understand that he was saying as clearly as he could possibly say it look this God and these people are done forever discredited by true sovereign I am the master of the civilized world. Daniel is really story about that struggle and the question Daniel sets out the answer is simply this, God is God's. God is sovereign, when you look at it that way. All of these things occur in the early chapters are really an illustration of an reason L archer whose commentary in the expositor's Bible commentary is one of the best works of Daniel available today puts it in words that are worth quoting the principal theological emphasis.

In Daniel he says is the absolute sovereignty of the all of the God of Israel, the time when it seemed all the world that his cause was lost with the gods of the heathen triumphs, causing his temple to be burned to the ground. It pleased the Lord strikingly and unmistakably to display his omnipotence theme running through the whole book is that the fortunes of kings in the affairs of man are subject to God's decrees and that he is able to accomplish his will.

Despite the most determined opposition of the mightiest potentates on earth.

Miracles recorded in chapters 1 to 6 demonstrate God's sovereignty on behalf of the saints surpassing health of Daniel and his three companions after 10 days of a simple vegetable diet. In chapter 1 miraculous disclosure to Daniel of the contents of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter 2 the amazing deliverance of Daniel's three friends from the fiery furnace in chapter 3 previous warnings to Nebuchadnezzar seven years of the humanizing insanity because of his overweening pride in chapter 4. Terrifying prediction inscribed in the banquet wall of Bill Sasser, followed by a speedy fulfillment of the same in chapter 5 and Daniels's deliverance from the lion's den. All clearly show that the Lord God of Israel was in charge of the plight of human affairs was perfectly able to deliver his people from pagan oppression during their captivity. When you look at these events. On the surface you might well say the way the world does well where is the God of Israel, when you begin to see these things as Daniel led by God came to see them. You see, the God is in charge, even of those things that we regard as tragedies, but which are often simply God's judgment upon his saints, for the great theme of Daniel is this theme of sovereignty whose God is God, the God of Israel, or is it some other God and I want to put it an even greater context that because this is an introductory study give ever read much of the history of Christian theology, you will know. I'm sure that one of the greatest works of historical theology ever panned with by St. Augustine called the city of God. Boston is best known for his confessions. Of course, next to that city of God is his best-known work. It's the first real Christian philosophy of history apart from the Bible itself if you've ever read that or even read parts of it. You know that when Augustine uses that title. The city of God when he is doing is distinguishing it from what he calls the city of man or the worldly city in Augustine's terminology network city stands for what we would call cultures or societies is talking about a society of God and world society. And he's explaining history is an ongoing struggle between those two societies right talks about it is to say that there are two cities formed by two locks.

One by the love of God, even to the abasement of self, the other by love of self, even to the abasement. God reason I mention that particular study now is that there is a portion of it, in which Augustine quite rightly, I believe focuses on earthly Babylon in the days of Nebuchadnezzar as symbolizing all that's involved in the earthly city or the earthly culture.

All that is involved in men and women as they construct life secular life apart. God, this is something that the Bible itself does. Babylon becomes a symbol of the earthly Jerusalem becomes a symbol of the heavenly we see them in their earthly manifestations earthly Babylon and earthly Jerusalem in history earthly. Babylon overthrows earthly Jerusalem as God allows that to happen is judgment upon his people retrace that through Scripture, we come to the very end of the Bible to the book of Revelation and there we find two cities.

Again, only now the tables were reversed earthly Jerusalem has arisen from its ashes and become new heavenly Jerusalem destined to endure forever. And Babylon, which this point of the story is triumphant, the master of the world is overthrown. Saints in heaven. Rejoice in the fall of this ungodly culture so St. Augustine develop Saturn develops well I think I would say when we talk about the nature of the struggle that if were to put it in today's terms, what we really have a talk about is this kind of secular humanism that Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon epitomizes. I think it's nowhere expressed better than in the fourth chapter verse 30 where Nebuchadnezzar is looking out over this great city of Babylon.

One of the rates miracles of the ancient world and in which he asked this question, he says, is not this the great Bible and that I have notes as the royal residence by my mighty power for the glory of my Majesty, that's humanism, it's saying that reality flows from man. That man is the source of it all and that it exists out there for man is created by man, it's for man's glory. That's Nebuchadnezzar say was some truth in it. Of course he had built Babylon. It was magnificent. It was by his power that he brought it into existence. But what he failed to do was acknowledge God who had given him even power and opportunity to build those buildings.

God says is God always says when challenged by human retention that he's going to bring that earthly city down.

This is exactly the kind of humanism that controls our culture today. It simply man without God we see that all kinds of ways. I guess the philosophical basis is the doctrine of evolution, which is expanded didn't most popular thinking to include almost everything. It started out horses or theory for the origin of species.

That's what Darwin was talking about, but it has been expanded from that to be principal explained almost everything it has to do with the world of ideas of religion, truth and everything is all just evolving and it's getting better better better doing all by itself in a materialistic way.

Part God is interesting how popular evolution is basic philosophical approach to reality. There are number of reasons for corset explains things in terms of cause and effect. That's good. Actually, that's the way we know things are that way because God has no cause. Apart from that's all we know most other things that's good then secondly it's one because it explains everything superficially course, but you see by that one principal think you can explain almost everything that exists.

And I think thirdly and probably this is the most important. It provides that kind of explanation without any need for God because of all things are cause-and-effect in all things are evolving and that's happening in a materialistic way matter giving birth to higher forms of matter when you don't need system you don't need God.

You don't acknowledge God you serve God, to obey God. You don't have to adjust your life on the basis of God's revelation, you can just do what you but that's humanism. That's the spirit of the secular city area which received today.

I mention it because it is so dominant as a theme in Daniel itself is what we today call the doctrine of separation of church and state route, the doctrine of the separation of church and state used to be a good thing meant the right thing. It meant that as we construct our society. We do not believe that political figures have the right to appoint or depose religious figures and we believe that religious figures do not have the right to appoint or depose political figures that there are in that sense to separate spheres. That's good, that's healthy.

You see what's happening with that idea of the separation of church and state in our day is such on the political side, there has been a conscious attempt to exclude religious values in any form from impinging upon national life and on the religious side, there has been an acquiescence, and that by Christian people, according to which we more or less withdraw from society.

But the political system go its own way and then bemoan what is happening because we say other no religious values, and it is not the way it's supposed to function.

It is true that the state and the church are two separate spheres, but they are not absolutely independent spheres because one depends on the other, but because both depend on God. The legitimacy of the state is based upon God's appointment of political leaders in the legitimacy of the church rests upon God's appointment and establishment of the church responsible to go and the way that is supposed to work properly is for both to carry out their function.

Recognizing that they have a responsibility to the creator and when any one party fails to do with the other one is to remember and remind that one of their duty that we have a culture today which says churches you have freedom to practice your religion but you have to do it on the reservation, you stay there out of the real world you anything you want in private will give you the right to do that, but you must not bring it off reservation into world politics and business. All those things usually want were going to learn from this book is a God is not indifferent to what's done in those other spheres and that for the Christian, there is no separation of life into such neat little compartments so you can do your Christian thing in church on Sunday but then you're free to do something different. The rest of the time said today politically leaders that the time the last election said while in private. I believe one thing as a Christian, but in public. Of course I do something quite different is absolutely intolerable going to see that this week begin to study this book.

Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, God has revealed himself where you're concerned.

And God has said your royal authority is been taken from you will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals you will eat grass like cattle seven times in the past binding seven years for you until you acknowledge that the most high is sovereign over the kingdoms of man and gives them to anyone he wishes and spoke to Daniel to tell Nebuchadnezzar you may exalt yourself. You may say I am sovereign you may say I have no need of God. You may say I am independent of God. I built Babylon and I can do with the Bible and what I want.

God says what I'm going to do is teach you that's not the way it is. I am sovereign, though you may have great power receive that power for me and you're responsible to me for how you use it and if you use it wrongly. Eventually I will bring down God did text says immediately after this that we can as his mind went from and he became insane. Lived with the cattle like an animal is God's way of saying that if you are obedient to God. If you go your way in the behaving like a beast. I may say so. Even worse beasts because people who are in rebellion against God do things that even the animals getting think of things you and I do all in the midst of this in the midst of worldly arrogance, ungodly Babylon, there are the people of God. Members and citizens of the heavenly city here. Only four of them, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach Bendigo foreman, but they were God's people and what happened in their lives in Babel and though they were the tiniest of minorities in this greatest of all the world cities is walk in the long run really mattered is what God did was look down on them and lead them and bless them and say the lives of these poor people, I'm going to demonstrate what it really means to love God to the despising of self. I'm going to show that there are men will do what is right that the risk of their own lives even willing to face death in order to serve me do it in righteousness because is God in the final analysis, that's the only thing that really matters. We could put in our terms in the final analysis, the only thing is to make any difference in our secular culture is not passing laws express our Christian point of view that may happen eventually. What is going to make a difference as Christian people living for God standing by his word is revelation last question are you a member of that city question confronts us the very beginning of the study are you a member of God city. Are you with Daniel you a member of Daniel's band easy to become a member, or Jesus Christ is invited you. He said he's the leader of that Army or Jesus Christ is set however well Mike, is that whoever comes to me I will no wise cast out. He says my arms are open, come by faith in me what I done. Then if you do come, says Jesus, I'm going to read orient your whole way of life. Your way of thinking I'm going to show you what it is to live by the invisible kingdom of God is not something that you see buildings or programs something internal, something spiritual but it's more real. What you're saying. I'm going to show you how my people actually live their lives on the basis that invisible city. Abraham was an example Abraham see lived as it says in Hebrews is a sojourner entrance along with Isaac and Jacob were also heirs with him.

According to the promise and doing all that because it says the author of Hebrews. They will city that has foundations, city of our God world says what Charles Algernon Swinburne said in his McMahon God of another B is the substance of man which is man, I was smitten of God are smitten by death is upon the overlord in the love song of earth is now bias resounds through the wind of her wings gloried a man in the highest because man is mastering thing that is not the master God is master wise man or woman by the grace of God in Jesus Christ submits that sovereignty determines serve him spray. Her father we stand today at the beginning of the study of this most important important.

The whole flow of the biblical revelation but particularly important for us because it speaks to the great issue of our time. We live in a world which is like ancient Babylon secular world in which man is king on her father. We have a king or king is Jesus. We ask you to teach us as we study this book wanted me to serve him other leaders and bless us in that way for Jesus. You have been listening to the Bible study our production of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals the alliance of confessing Evangelicals exist to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of Reformation theologians from decades, even centuries gone by. We seek to provide contemporary Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. The alliance ministry includes the Bible study are featuring Dr. James voice every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Rieke and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Gray Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a full list of radio stations carrying our programs or to make a contribution. Please contact us by calling toll-free 1-800-488-1888.

Again, that's 1-800-488-1888. You could also write the alliance at Box 2000, Philadelphia, PA 19103 work, you can visit us online at ask for your free resource catalog featuring books, audio teachings, commentaries, booklets, videos, and a wealth of other materials from outstanding reformed teachers and theologians, including Donald Barnhouse, James voice and Philip Rieke. Thank you again for your

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